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8.6.21 Editorials

🛑If everything aligns, India could see a third consecutive year of surplus rainfall. The IMD has said that monsoon rains will likely be 101% of the Long Period Average (LPA) of 88 cm. In 2020, it was 109% of the LPA and in 2019, 110%. While the forecast 101% LPA is short of the rainfall received in these years and still within the range of what the IMD considers ‘normal’ rainfall, it is positive news because the current forecast is ‘above normal’ rainfall in the core agricultural zone. This zone includes States where agriculture is significantly rain-fed including Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal. The IMD’s estimate of the distribution of this rainfall also suggests that except for the Northeast, where rainfall is expected to be ‘below normal’, other regions are expected to get above normal rainfall. A general pattern of the monsoon is that weakened rains over Northeastern India — which has a higher base rainfall than other parts of India — translate into stronger rainfall in Central India. Propitious rain this year is premised on forecasts from Indian and global climate models, veering towards no excess sea-surface temperatures at the Equatorial Pacific conditions. There are also ‘negative’ IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) conditions over the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season, meaning warmer water and greater precipitation in the eastern Indian Ocean. Put together, they mean that these larger climate factors are, as of now, unlikely to have a significant influence over the prevailing monsoon.

A good monsoon could aid agriculture which has been among the few bright spots in the Indian economy. Two good years of rains have boosted storage in the key reservoirs. However, the flip side of a forecast for a bounteous monsoon is the possibility of flash floods, landslides and disease outbreaks. In the last year and before it, the IMD had not, in June, warned about the exceptionally high rains. While three consecutive years of above normal rain are exceedingly rare, the IMD itself assigns a 22% probability of it occurring, which is just below the 40% probability of ‘normal’ rainfall. India is now moving to a system where medium range forecasts, or expected changes in monsoon or larger weather patterns over two weeks, are better captured by the monsoon models deployed. These inputs must be used by the Government to better prepare infrastructure in the eventuality that excessive rains can wipe out the potential gains for agriculture. It may also be worthwhile to encourage farmers to sow higher-value crops than only rice via the MSP route. The favourable tidings should not be an excuse to abandon caution.

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1.Forecast (N)-a prediction about how something (as the weather) will develop. पूर्वानुमान

2.Premised On (Idiom)-based on (a particular idea or belief).

3.Prevailing (Adj)-existing in a particular place or at a particular time.

4.Aid (V)-improve the condition of.

5.Boosted (V)-help or encourage (something) to increase or improve. प्रोत्साहित करना

6.Bounteous (Adj)-large or generous in amount.

7.Worthwhile (Adj)-useful or advantageous in a given situation. उचित

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🛑The Union Education Ministry has been attempting to get States into a competitive mode in upgrading their school education system by recognising progress with a Performance Grading Index (PGI) that assigns them a score. It can be argued that countries and State governments use school education as a transformative tool most effectively where the political imperative is strong. The Centre’s effort with the PGI scoring system has been to try and nudge all States using a hall of fame approach. In the latest set of scores and grades for the pre-COVID-19 year, 2019-20, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Chandigarh, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have performed the best, although they still fall short of the 951-1,000 points slab, the highest possible. It should be heartening to 33 States and Union Territories that their PGI scores have improved over the previous year, and in the case of Andaman and Nicobar, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh, by a noteworthy 20%. Several middling States continue to make marginal progress, some have improved merely by tweaking their data, while Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh actually regressed, although the PGI scheme is now three years old. The score is derived using databases on 70 parameters such as access, equity, governance processes, infrastructure and facilities, and learning outcomes that are mostly self-reported by the States but vetted by the Centre, with National Achievement Survey data also being incorporated. On some parameters, such as uneven learning outcomes between students from deprived communities and others, bridging the gap earns a better score.

The Centre, with its transparent scores and data for each parameter and sub-topic made available in the public domain, seeks to create a resource-sharing system that low-performing States can tap into. This initiative is laudable, but it can work only if governments and Opposition parties see value in strong and open school education, and work to strengthen access, equity and infrastructure by budgeting fees and funds for universalisation. It is such commitment that led Southeast Asia to carry out a renaissance in school education in the later decades of the last century, on the lines of Meiji-era Japan. India’s school system has to contend with not just patchy access and infrastructure, but major equity issues that have come to the fore during the pandemic. Clearly, the shadow of COVID-19 will persist over the education system for the foreseeable future, and further progress on all parameters will depend on bridging the gaps, particularly on digital tools, infrastructure and subsidies for access. The PGI scores show that the southern and western States are on firm ground to achieve this, while those in central India and parts of the east and Northeast are less resourced. What is evident from the Education Ministry analysis is that governance processes are the weakest link in some States. A new deal for schools can transform them as the Right to Education law envisages.

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1.Imperative (N)-an obligatory act or duty.

2.Nudge (V)-to encourage or persuade someone to do something.

3.Tweaking (V)-to make small changes in order to improve something. सुधारना

4.Regressed (V)-returning to a former state.

5.Deprived (Adj)-lacking something that is needed to live the way most people live. वंचित

6.Tap Into (Phrasal Verb)-to manage to use something in a way that brings good results.

7.Laudable (Adj)-deserving praise. प्रशंसनीय, सराहनीय

8.Renaissance (N)-a revival of or renewed interest in something. पुनरुत्थान

9.On The Lines Of (Phrase)-approximately or imperfectly similar to something; very like something, but not quite the same.

10.Envisages (V)-contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event. परिकल्पना करना

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🛑Sebi penalises Vivek Kudva and family Rs 7 cr for redeeming FT units

Chirag Madia | 07/06/2021 | 9 hours ago


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has barred Vivek Kudva and wife Roopa Kudva, former MD of Omidyar Network India, from accessing the capital market for one year for redeeming their units in the schemes shuttered by Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund while allegedly being in possession of non-public information.


The regulator has imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs 7 crore on Vivek, who serves as a director on the Franklin MF, wife and late mother Vasanthi.


Further, they have been directed to disgorge Rs 22 crore into a separate bank account—nearly two-thirds of the amount they redeemed before the schemes were shut.


The individuals had cumulatively redeemed units worth over Rs 30 crore from Franklin India Short Term Income Fund (STIP) and Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund (IOF) while in possession of material non-public information weeks before the schemes were wound up.


Sebi in a show cause notice alleged that Kudva his capacity as a director was privy to information such as concerns of redemption, concentration and liquidity risk pertaining to the stress in the debt schemes, most of which was not in public domain. The regulator alleged that this amounted to “an unfair trade practice in securities market and a fraud on the other unsuspecting unit holders of said debt schemes who were not privy to such confidential information and therefore, could not redeem their investments.” ALSO READ: Profitability expectations to drive more gains for Max Healthcare


In their replies, the Kudvas said that they had redeemed the units on the basis of non-public information.


“The noticees decided to sell to their units in the schemes based on, inter alia, generally available public information and in the context of an extraordinary market situation due to the unprecedented black swan event of Covid-19 pandemic,” they said in their reply to Sebi.


“The noticees by redeeming their units ahead of the other investors have enjoyed an unfair advantage by having access to their investments; whereas the unit holders who remained invested were left in the lurch as their investments were locked up for a considerable amount of time. In such a scenario, I find it appropriate to place the noticees (with respect to their investments in the two schemes) in a similar position, to that of the unit holders who had remained invested,” Sebi explained the rationale behind disgorgement.


Sebi in the order said that the normal investors of STIP and IOF schemes had got only a fourth of their investment back so far. As a result, the Kudva’s also need to return about 75 per cent of the amount they had redeemed from these schemes. They have also been directed to transfer 12 per cent of the redeemed amount into Sebi’s Investor Protection And Education Fund account. Action against Vivek Kudva, wife Roopa for redeeming units . One year ban from securities market . Cumulative penalty of Rs 7 crore . Disgorgement of Rs 22 crore . 12% interest on redeemed amount



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